Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has asked the Court of Appeal to vacate the arrest order issued against him.
He made the request in an appeal filed on Thursday in Abuja, through his lead counsel and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Adegboyega Awomolo.
Yakubu is currently in Guinea Bissau leading ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC) members to West African states in a bid to improve electoral process in the region.
— INEC Nigeria (@inecnigeria) August 2, 2018
Justice Stephen Pam of the Federal High Court in the nation’s capital had issued the warrant of arrest against Yakubu on Wednesday for allegedly disobeying court orders.
In the notice of appeal, the INEC chairman claimed that Justice Pam acted in bad faith in the issuance of the arrest order.
He explained that he had already filed a pending appeal against the order while the attention of the judge was drawn to the appeal.
Yakubu submitted among other claims that up till date, no order was enrolled and served on him for his personal appearance in court as required by the law.
He noted that the warrant of arrest against him was a nullity because none of the parties in the contempt case applied for issuance of a bench warrant, except the judge who reportedly did so on his own.
The INEC boss stressed that he has not disobeyed any court order since he was not present before the court when the alleged order directing his personal presence was made.
He added that Justice Pam who has no jurisdiction to punish him for the alleged disobedience of court order committed ex-facie curie (outside the court).
Yakubu said he was no longer a contemnor at the Federal High Court under the strength of his appeal lodged at the Court of Appeal challenging the justification of the contempt charge against him.
He argued that the trial court breached Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution by striking out his motion without hearing it, thereby denying him his right to fair hearing in the determination on the merit of his application.
Justice Pam issued a bench warrant against the INEC boss on Wednesday, following his alleged failure to appear before the court.
The INEC boss was to defend himself in the contempt charge brought against him by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra State.